MILWAUKEE — Let it never be said that this series isn’t competitive. The Bulls lead the Bucks 3-0, and will likely finish off a sweep on Saturday. But the Bucks’ effort has been admirable. Even after blowing an 18-point first-half lead on Thursday, they battled back from an eventual 12-point deficit and forced two overtimes.
But, in the end, the Bulls were simply the more talented team. Milwaukee ran out of gas in the second overtime and fell 113-106.
“We had a great chance to win a game twice,” Bucks coach Jason Kidd said after the game. “The effort was there the whole night. Guys played their hearts out.”
The same thing killed the Bucks that killed them in Game 1 last weekend: Derrick Rose looks like Derrick Rose again. He was electric in Game 3, scoring 34 points with 5 rebounds, 8 assists and 3 steals, and even hitting a playoff career-high five three-pointers.
“He’s playing at a very high level,” Kidd said. “He’s playing as the MVP with how he can control the game. You’ve got to live with something. When he’s making a living at the rim, you just have to contest his threes and hope he misses.”
It sure looks like Rose is back, but he doesn’t want to say the words.
“I can’t think about that right now,” he said after the game. “All I’m doing is preparing myself for every game. Having that confidence to believe in myself and believe in my craft. It’s the playoffs.”
But there was no mistaking the Rose that showed up in Game 3, just as it was obvious what was happening in Game 1. Tom Thibodeau put it best:
“He’s back in attack mode.”